Koreans choose their next president on Wednesday by casting their ballots at 13,542 polling stations across the nation from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The total number of eligible voters stands at 40.5 million, up 2.85 million from the previous presidential election in 2007.
The two contenders, the Saenuri Party's Park Geun-hye and the Democratic United Party's Moon Jae-in, campaigned until Tuesday in Seoul and Busan.
"We expect a very close race, so it will probably take some time before a winner becomes evident," said an official at the National Election Commission.
Voters can find out the location of polling stations from instructions sent by mail, the NEC's website (www.nec.go.kr) or by dialing 1390, which leads to a pre-recorded message. Any eligible voter must bring their ID card, driver's license or other state-issued photo ID.
Ballot boxes will be transported to 252 collection stations across the country as soon as voting ends at 6 p.m.
The vote count will use around 1,700 counting machines and 52,570 personnel. The NEC expects the winner to emerge between 11 p.m. and 12 a.m., with vote counting largely complete between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on Thursday in most parts of the country.